What Wall Plate Material Should I Get?

By e_klump on 06/22/2020

You use wall plates every time you flip a light switch or plug something in, but you probably rarely think about them. Did you know that new wall plates will help make your home or commercial space healthier and safer? Older wall plates eventually crack, corrode, and collect dust, filling your space with electrical hazards. Nowadays wall plates function as more than just wire covers. A worksite with a lot of harsh chemicals and high humidity calls for a very different type of wall plate then, let’s say, the dining room of an older home.

Why change your wall plates now? Here are some signs you should make the switch:

1. Cracked wall plate or dust build-up around the wall plate:

Have you seen what happens when you use dryer lint to make a campfire? Now imagine that happening to the wires behind your electrical switches. As it burns easily, dust poses a danger to your wires, increasing the risk of a house fire. If your cover plates allow dust to get inside, you need to replace them. Causes include the wall plate cracking due to age or the wrong size wall plate was installed.

2. You want to upgrade your outlet types:

Ever gone to a newly built hotel or office building and noticed all the fancy types of outlets? Would you like that in your own home? New outlet options these days include USB outlets, phone jacks, fiber, multi-port connectors, and dimmer controls. If you upgrade your outlets, you certainly need new wall plates that accommodate the shape of the new outlets.

3. Burned/charred outlet or plate is warm:

If these apply, you need to rewire or replace your outlet. Causes of burned outlets and warm plates include a worn-out outlet and/or an outlet that cannot handle the amount of power you plug into it.

If the last two apply, you may have faulty wiring or too many plugs connected to the outlet. You need to rewire or replace your outlet in addition to buying a new wall plate. Call a technician for help if you do not know how to install it yourself.

Buying the proper wall plates or light switch covers improves the look and functionality of the space, as well as the safety. Here at HomElectrical, we sell many types of wall plates to fit your needs. Before you buy, evaluate your space, and ask these questions to find the perfect wall plate.

  • Are there harsh chemicals or other corrosive elements in your space?
  • Is it a high traffic space?
  • Is there high humidity in your space?
  • Is the look of the wall plate important?
  • Are you planning on painting over your wall plate?

Plastic Wall Plates:

Thermoset: Plastic light switch plates and wall plates are very common, especially thermoset plastics. If your worksite contains high operating temperatures or harsh or corrosive chemicals and substances, you need a thermoset plastic wall plate. Thermoset plastics never bend, making these the most rigid type of wall plate.

Nylon: Nylon plastic wall plates differ from thermoset plastics in that nylon provides additional resistance to impacts, abrasion, and fading. In high traffic and high moisture spaces, nylon wall plates do the job without breaking or cracking.

Polycarbonate: Polycarbonate plastic wall plates resist fading or warping due to UV light and humidity. If you live in Georgia like us, you know just how much damage humidity can inflict on your light switch plates. Choose a polycarbonate wall plate to withstand any moisture in the air.

Metal Wall Plates:

Stainless Steel: Stainless steel wall plates withstand heavy use, clean easily, and their design prevents wall damage and dust build up around the edges. If you plan on painting your walls and want your wall switch plates to match, go with stainless steel.

Brass: Restoring an older building? Brass wall plates provide an antique look and work well with yellow, brown, and cream paint. In addition, the metal resists corrosion and premature oxidation.

Now that you know the different types of wall plate materials, you can make the switch and provide everyone with a healthier and safer space. HomElectrical sells UL listed wall plates of various materials at competitive retail prices. Shop our collection today to find blank wall plates, switch plates, and outlet covers for your space!

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